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Taste of Wine: Gianni Buonomo voted San Diego’s best winery

This is one of those “couldn’t happen to a nicer guy” announcements.  

San Diego Magazine coordinates all its resources annually in a comprehensive polling of “best” categories in San Diego County.  According to its readers and website followers, Gianni Buonomo has been voted in as Best San Diego Winery.

Taste of Wine and Food has written a number of times on this vibrant four-year-old winery located in the Ocean Beach district of San Diego. Owner Keith Rolle caught our attention some eight years ago, after he started making his Gianni Buonomo wines in San Diego with grapes from Washington state. They were delicious high quality varietals from the get-go. Some 14 varietals are now on his wine menu and recently the awards have been rolling in.

The latest win on his wine was the 2014 Charbono red.  The prestigious San Francisco Chronicle competition presented this wine a Double Gold Medal.

On being the top winery in San Diego, Rolle, who makes all his wines, had this to say.  “With over 100 wineries in this region, I’m humbled to receive all this recognition in only our fourth year of operation.  The San Diego wine scene is thriving right now and we’re excited to help bolster its growth.” On bringing in grapes from the Northwest, he stated that “the natural acidity of Washington fruit is the game changer. Up there, we’re able to get more hang time without having to worry too much about getting raisins or losing the acid. This allows for denser and more complex flavors to develop while still maintaining balance.”

Congratulations to Rolle and his team at Gianni Buonomo. Visit at

PAON Carlsbad offers try before you buy events

The wine program at PAON has taken on a life of its own since the kickoff of its customer-first Wine Club and the arrival of Kate Edgecombe as Wine Director. PAON had always been known for its upscale excellence with a fine dining room and a special selections wine shop. Where the customer service ramped up was in the rewards and outreach for wine club members. With PAON, it’s not just one winery, it’s over 550 wines of the world with the reputation of PAON behind each one.  There’s weekly wine tastings, monthly tastings with special reduced pricing and big-event dinners like the one with Laird Family Estate of Napa Valley on the April 24 with Rebecca Laird.

Club members received a nearly 25% discount off the price of the wine dinner.

This and other discounts make the wait over for a perfect wine club membership at PAON. On April 29 Riboli Family Wines with Anthony Riboli will be pouring their best. Check out the details with Kate Edgecomb at [email protected] or call (760) 729-7377.

Wine Bytes

• 333 Pacific in Oceanside has an Australian five-course wine dinner starting at 6 p.m. April 26. Some of the top “down under” wines will rock you, along with  unforgettable cuisine. For an RSVP, call (760) 433-3333.

• Il Fornaio in Coronado brings in Pegasus Estate Wines from the Santa Ynez Valley, a runaway award winner from 3 to 5:30 p.m. April 27. This is a seated wine tasting with live jazz.  Meet Pegasus owners Mike and Peggy Crowley. Perfectly paired small bites included.  For your place at this event, call (858) 945-2399.

• Fleming’s in La Jolla has a classic burger and wine glass special going, now through May 10 in the bar. The burger is USDA prime beef with Wisconsin cheddar and peppered bacon. The wine is Paraduxx, a red blend from Duckhorn in Napa Valley. Both just $25 per person.

• Daou wines from Paso Robles comes to Orange County at the Oak Grill for a four-course wine dinner starting at 6 p.m. April 30 in the Fashion Island Hotel. Special guest will be Katherine Daou bringing a premium selection of her wines. Cost is $145 per person. For tickets, go to or call (877) 630-3531.